Steve Lacy is garnering all kinds of acclaim: The 19-year-old member of the Internet has produced tracks for Kendrick Lamar and Vampire Weekend, launched his debut solo record, Steve Lacy’s Demo, and made waves with his trippy single “4Real.”
He’s also one of a growing number of men in the hip-hop scene comfortable talking about their bisexuality. In a Tumblr post this summer, Lacy was asked if he was straight or bisexual, to which he replied “I’m human.”
In a followup asking if he’d date a guy, he replied “Sure, why not.”
But it was a discussion of what kind of guys he’d date that sparked controversy: Lacy revealed that he’s not interested in black men as romantic partners.
“Okay i get that you see it as a preference,” one commenter replied, “But don’t you think you owe it to yourself to break down the dynamics that lead you to have a blatantly anti-black preference in partners?”
But Lacy rejected the notion he was prejudiced: “The reason for it all isn’t anti-black at all,” he replied. “Growing up around black males, they were always my competitors ya know? I never viewed or saw myself doing anything sexual with my neighbors. I literally, like I said, see them as brothers.”
I'd be so honored to call me my ex
— steve lacy (@stevelacys) September 29, 2017
“As much as you or whoever thinks this sounds like b.s., it’s from a real place,” he added. “I’m a nigga from Compton, I don’t dislike black people, I prefer to live here and be around POC because I love black people. I’m just not attracted to black boys, that is it. I still love them and want them to do well in life, we just won’t date. Sorry.”
That didn’t cut it for some people, including Affinity’s Daryl Perry.
Lacy feels as it’s almost incestuous for him to want to date black men. How is that not anti-black? How is not being attracted to a whole race of people justified? It isn’t, and shouldn’t be. Lacy has no actual reasoning for his preferences, and just dug himself into a bigger hole…
He’s treating a whole group of people as the few he’s grown up with, which is making a generalization. Lacy’s comparing every black boy on earth to the people he grew up with, which is inaccurate, but just wrong. That’s equivalent to me meeting one POC who says they hate black people and thinking “Everyone of that particular community is racist.” Not okay.
Perry maintains that Lacy is internalizing and reinforcing a racial hierarchy “almost as if he’s too good to date black men, that they’re below him.”
Others appreciate Lacy’s perspective. On Medium, bbreyn writes:
A preference is literally that, a preference. Cultivated uniquely and individually through ones unique and individual experience. Unless you are a black gay male from Compton who grew up exactly like Steve, you, surprisingly, might not get where he’s coming from. Why cancel him?
He LITERALLY states that he sees black men as brothers. I’d be mad if he said he couldn’t stand black men. But this—this is logical. It’s not as if being gay is celebrated or seen as a beneficial thing in almost any black community. Who knows when Steve realized his sexuality. Who knows how Steve realized his sexuality.
Eventually Lacy said he wasn’t taking anymore questions about his sexuality, and that the answers were all on his blog.
On Twitter, he suggested followers should just “let kids be themselves without having to announce what/who they’re into sexually.”
let's delete the whole closet concept and just let kids be themselves without having to announce what/who they're into sexually
— steve lacy (@stevelacys) July 12, 2017
Fair enough. At 19, most people don’t have it all figured out—who they want to date or why. But is Lacy justified in his dating preferences or is he trafficking in damaging stereotypes?